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  • The Shadow Queen(Black Jewels,Book 7)(95) by Anne Bishop
  • It wasn’t sensible for human females to come into heat so often, but there were many things about humans that were not sensible. That was why Scelties had been looking after humans for such a long time.

    Cassie was a Queen, and her court should protect her. Theran should protect her.

    But Yas did not trust Cassie’s court, did not think the males would defend her properly. Ladvarian saidYas knew how to protect a Queen. Ladvarian said Yas was a human the kindred could trust.

    Ladvarian had learned his Craft from Jaenelle, who was the special Queen, even for kindred, and Ladvarian had taught other kindred what he had learned. So Vae knew her Craft, and she knew Yas understood things about the males here that she did not. Even Theran.

    Well before dawn, Cassie’s scent changed.

    Vae wiggled backward until her head was level with Cassie’s female place. Then she sniffed to confirm the scent.

    Human females did not like to be sniffed there by anyone but their mates, so it was good that Cassie was still sleeping.

    Jumping off the bed, Vae padded out of the bedroom and used Craft to pull aside a curtain on one window in the living area.

    Early. No one awake yet. But when the first birds woke up and began to chirp, Cook and her helpers would wake up too and start making food for the day. Then the Blood who took care of the house would wake up.

    But not yet. No one but Talon would be awake now, and he did not come to Cassie’s rooms, so he wouldn’t know about the change in her scent. Not yet.

    She wore Purple Dusk. Since she couldn’t ride a faster, darker Wind than the Purple Dusk, the Keep was far away.

    Cassie needed protection now. Cassie needed Yas.

    Cassie would be safe enough until the males smelled the blood.

    Vae leaped through the window, using Craft to pass through the curtain and glass. She landed lightly on air, two stories above the ground, and floated there for a minute.

    Going up was faster than going down and around, so still floating on air, she trotted up one side of the roof and down the other before leaping away from the house and gliding over the ground and locked gates.

    Landing lightly, she trotted over to the landing web and took a moment to make sure of her direction. Then she caught the Purple Dusk Wind and rode to Ebon Askavi.

    Ebon ASKAVI

    Wanting nothing more than to spend an hour with the novel currently intriguing him before he retired earlier than usual, Saetan turned away from his suite and retraced his steps to one of the Keep’s private sitting rooms, where Lucivar was doing a slow prowl.

    “Is there a reason why you’re showing up here every morning?” Saetan asked.

    “I can count,” Lucivar replied.

    “And that’s significant because . . . ?” He could think of one reason for the edgy prowling. “Is Marian pregnant?”

    “What?” Lucivar jumped as if he’d gotten jabbed in the ass. “Hell’s fire, no! Although she’s working on it,” he added in a mutter.

    “She’s working on it?”

    Lucivar gave him a dark look. “She hasn’t talked me into putting aside the contraceptive brew. Not yet.”

    Thank the Darkness for that. He loved his grandson, Daemonar. He really did. But he suspected everyone in the family would be grateful for a little more time before they had to deal with another miniature Lucivar.

    Including Lucivar.

    “Did Lord Burle say anything to you about Cassidy?” Lucivar asked.

    “A few things. Are you interested in something in particular?”

    “Did she have her moontime while he was there?”

    “I didn’t ask.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire